Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Triple Standards for Transit

One wonders why people must always be forced to vote for light rail but not roads. But yet the Columbian is editorializing just that and being very blatant about it:
Whatever the answer, a more general light-rail question should be presented to Vancouver voters, to cover all bases. There is no need for a vote on the new bridge itself (transportation infrastructure routinely is decided by transportation officials) or tolls (voters generally don't vote on user fees), but the light rail question is different. As we editorialized on Feb. 24, "Light-rail critics have complained loudly — and correctly — that people should be allowed to vote on the matter."
Really? Why is light rail different? Why shouldn't transportation officials be allowed to decide about this transportation infrastructure? And why are critics the only reason to vote? I'm sure there are plenty of critics of the CRC. Why not let them vote as well if you really believe in such deep democracy. The answer is that the Columbian doesn't believe in anything except for the George Will doctrine. If its not a car, its not transportation.


Morgan Wick said...

If they don't run a letter to the editor calling them out on this within a week either their editorial board is irresponsible or the people are just as shameful as the paper.

AJ said...

This is an endgame scenario for Vancwa businesses, really. Having a direct link to downtown Portland would severely hinder chances for larger developments, leaving them with a lot of suburban-oriented scraps and a lot less potential cash.

Matt Fisher said...

You mean Vancouver, Washington, as opposed to Vancouver, British Columbia, where I'd like to go to (and possibly move to once I'm out of university). My Uncle Arch used to live there. I haven't been to British Columbia and would like to go to that one, and to the province's capital, Victoria.

By the way, they appeared to have discussed light rail there, too.

Jay Heikes said...

I think the reason behind this one is the 1/2 cent sales tax they need to fund the light rail. In most cases sales tax increases require voter approval.

The real question here is why must transit be funded by sales taxes? Why couldn't it be reversed so that big road projects use the sales tax and transit be funded from other sources that do not require voter approval?

Matt Fisher said...

Why, yes! How about putting a sales tax vote towards the highways instead of light rail? I know that Washington has a sales tax and Oregon doesn't. Let those in Clark County who pay the sales tax foot the bill for the true cost of driving. But then again, some could say they are "independent from Portland" like how the Quebec region of the Outaouais is independent from Ottawa.

Matt Fisher said...

If I haven't finished yet, I will say that I could relate my last comment about "independence" in the Quebec Outaouais (and so forth) to nationalistes du Qu├ębec and their longtime desire for soverignty from Canada.